Janice returns to Heritage Park
Janice Boss feels like she’s returning home - to a place where you were once greeted by a giant kiwi and Micky the moa.
The 78-year-old once worked at Heritage Park in Mt Wellington and is set to move in to the redeveloped retirement village site with her husband Ken.
Heritage Park opened in 1984, attracting thousands of visitors and locals to get a taste of New Zealand.
Boss started working there as the manager of the souvenir shop and loved every moment of her time there.
However, the $7.5 million park closed in 1988 as it was hard to sustain and its location proved difficult in attracting people out of the city centre.
‘‘When they first opened I spent two months getting the shop all ready and everything I had to buy in there had to be New Zealand made,’’ Boss says.
The ‘‘theme park’’ gave visitors a New Zealand experience in half-a-day with wildlife, nature and Sir Howard Morrisontrained Maori entertainers.
‘‘You couldn’t find a place in the city with lakes and that size so it was out there,’’ Boss says.
‘‘Sometimes at 11 o’clock at night I would be asleep in bed and the phone would ring saying a cruise ship tour had come in and wanted to shop.
‘‘They’d have me rush down to the park and open the gift shop.’’
Sadly the park had to shut in 1988 and after its closure, Boss started working in another sou- venir shop in the city centre.
Boss and her husband have lived in their Ellerslie home since 1959 and were childhood sweethearts, but the time has come to move out of their property as it is becoming too big.
Construction is under way on the site where retirement village developer Summerset has redeveloped the former Heritage Park.
The retirement village will incorporate some of the original features, such as the pond and some of the enclosures will still be visible.
A total of 62 two and three bedroom villas and townhouses will be built as well as 124 independent living apartments.
The new village is the fifth Summerset has redeveloped in the Auckland region and the first near the inner city with two more villages planned for St Johns and Parnell.
Boss is looking forward to moving in but says she will also be sad to leave their garden.
Janice Boss worked at the Heritage Park in Mt Wellington and is now returning to its site to live.